By Emily Hylden
A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 11:1-13
1 He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 So he said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, may your name be revered as holy.
May your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything out of friendship, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asked for a fish, would give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asked for an egg, would give a scorpion? 13 If you, then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
One morning last week, I was praying the Lord’s Prayer with my kids at the weekly chapel service at their school. At noon that same day, I led the healing Eucharist at our church and prayed the Lord’s Prayer again. I was struck anew by the power of this prayer. It features prominently in many Christian worship and prayer services, in the rosary and other prayer tools, and it’s usually the first prayer a child of faith learns.
In the context of today’s rendition in Luke, Jesus links this prayer with the spiritual virtue of perseverance. First, we’re given a parable to illustrate the sort of stick-to-it-iveness which can transform our prayer lives as well as ourselves. Then, Jesus launches into a proverb making the same point, urging his praying disciples to have the courage to ask, to seek, to knock upon the doors which seem closed, and see if God will do something.
We are not always called to a winding path, but often enough, the way of God is one that surprises us. From one simple prayer, spoken and offered in many situations and different companies, we find the call of God to draw us in many directions, for our own good and for his glory.
The Rev. Emily R. Hylden resides with her priest husband and three sons in Lafayette, Louisiana. Find her podcasting at Emily Rose Meditations.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The Diocese of Nelson – The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia
The Diocese of Central Florida